Letter Accepting Resignation of General Norstad as Supreme Commander of United States and Allied forces in Europe.
It is only with deep regret that I accede to your request to retire from active duty. know that I speak not only for the United States but also for the leaders of the free World, when I say that your individual contribution to the strength of the Alliance during a particularly difficult and critical period will become a permanent entry in the annals of freedom.
There is no more important military assignment for the defense of the free World than the one that you have been carrying for so long, and I know of no one who has been better able to bear its burdens. During that period you have become a living symbol of the United States commitment to the Alliance and of the strength of the Alliance itself.
As you know, I have relied heavily on your experience over the past eighteen months. I have felt fortunate that you were serving as Supreme Allied Commander and as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Forces Europe at the outset of my administration, and I have felt particularly fortunate that you were in command last summer when the situation in Berlin reached crisis proportions. Your judgment, your perceptiveness and your vigorous approach to our common problems have been of tremendous value to me.
The gratitude of the nation as wall as my own warm wishes will go with you into whatever field of endeavor you turn your energies. Meanwhile it is a matter of personal satisfaction to me to know that the fruits of your experience will continue to be available in the councils of the nation and of the Alliance during the years ahead.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
[General Lauris Notstad, USAF, SHAPE, Paris]
Note: General Notstad replaced Gen. Alfred M. Gruenther as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and as Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command, on November 20, 1956. On July 20 and 25, 1962, the White House announced that he would be succeeded in these positions by Gen. Lyrnan L. Lemnitzer. General Lemnitzer assumed command of U.S. Forces on November 1, 1962, but because of the prevailing international situation the NATO Council retained General Norstad as Supreme Allied Commander until January 2, 1963-
General Norstad's letter of resignation was released with the President's reply.
John F. Kennedy, Letter Accepting Resignation of General Norstad as Supreme Commander of United States and Allied forces in Europe. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/236294